The other day I was looking at UVA’s podcast, now with several episodes (give it a listen), and couldn’t help but notice a nice example of a theoretical and methodological fracture point in the field, one which likely prompts people to pick a side when doing their work. For although I agree that “the sacred is the profane,” Bill Arnal and I didn’t quite have this sense of the phrase in mind when picking a title for a set of […]
Tag: Mircea Eliade
Citing the Misdoers and Bad Behavers?
Dr. Steven L. Jacobs is Professor and Aaron Aronov Endowed Chair in Judaic Studies at The University of Alabama. His primary research foci are in Biblical Studies, translation and interpretation, including the Dead Sea Scrolls; as well as Holocaust and Genocide Studies. In the December 14, 2018 issue of The Chronicle Review, Brian Leiter of the University of Chicago penned a piece entitled “Go Ahead, Cite the Nazi” (B2).* His unnecessarily provocative argument as summarized by his disingenuous solution— “cite […]
When Are Religious Studies and Theology Different?
I know a lot of people who don’t sanction the old religious studies vs. theology distinction anymore — to them, the once distinguishable pursuits are better understood to bleed into one another, are mutually informing, are close cousins, or maybe even the very same thing and so to try to differentiate them is a sad testament to the authenticity of the people and the experiences under study. Scholarship, in this mode, is akin to dialogue, a mutually beneficial conversation, an […]
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In Other Words…
Like some of you, I woke today to an email soliciting submissions for a special issue of the open access online journal Open Theology. The email opened as follows: A person who reads texts from other religious traditions sometimes encounters what the reader understands to be a transcendent encounter with ultimacy. Encounters with the ultimate – not only with texts but also with practices and persons – need to be taken into account theologically…. Now, I’m not going to harp […]
Understanding Our Present Moment
My colleague tweeted the following the other day: If only there was an academic discipline that studied myth, history, and meaning-making that could say something about these monuments. — Michael J. Altman (@MichaelJAltman) August 17, 2017 It was a bit tongue-in-cheek to be sure, but it made a good point, I think, as he elaborated in a few tweets that followed, such as his claim that “religious studies has theorized myth since its foundation & has a set of theoretical […]
The World is a Funny Place
As I remarked to someone on Facebook some years ago, all it takes is a slight tweak in some of our cherished texts in the study of religion to make plain how problematic the work actually is — i.e., how deeply embedded the argument is in a set of presumptions about the world that likely need to be examined instead of simply assumed. Case in point: consider replacing the words “sacred” and “profane” as follows in this famous passage: If […]
A Response to “Responsible Research Practices,” Part 9: Broader Public
This is an installment in an ongoing series on the American Academy of Religion’s recently released draft statement on research responsibilities. An index of the complete series (updated as each article is posted) can be found here. Much like the earlier post on doing human subjects research, we find a truism enshrined in the draft document’s eighth bullet point (at least in the opening clause; I include the ninth also since it too is related): I’m not sure if there […]
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The Eternal Return All Over Again
I wrote a post recently in which I critiqued a new book by Brent Plate, saying it (along with other developments in the field, such as the turn toward so-called embodied or lived religion) was evidence that the work of Eliade was still representative of the field, no matter how much distance some may claim separates us today from when he first wrote many of his now famous studies in the history of religions (that is, back in the 1950s). […]
The More Things Change….
In October of 2013 I wrote a post elsewhere on how recent advances in the study of religion — studying so-called lived or material religion and religion on the ground — were but new names for a very old way of studying religion; for although many now opt for more empirically-sounding “embodiment” over what we once called “manifestation,” there’s still the presumption that the material is merely the domain in which the immaterial is projected, whether we call the intangible […]
Biased or Balanced?
So, did you catch that Prof. Altman‘s recent post on Mircea Eliade (which was linked here) was just quoted on Andrew Sullivan’s blog. Maybe you’ve seen Sullivan on TV as a political commentator or maybe you follow his blog — he’s certainly got a national media profile. But did you read Mike’s original post? If so, what do you think of the particular quote from it that appeared on The Dish? Is this what Mike’s article was about…? Was it […]